New wells, treatment improvements erase Wiggins’ water supply problems


From the Brush News Tribune (Stephanie Alderton):

After many years of struggling to provide enough clean water for the town’s growing population, Larino reported Feb. 24 that Wiggins now has more than enough for several years to come — even taking into account the two new housing developments that will begin construction this year.

Much of the water system’s success can be attributed to improved filtration methods, new wells the town has added over the last few years and some recent water deals with the Front Range. But although the water system is in better shape today than it has been in years, Larino said there’s still room for improvement.

“A lot of people don’t recognize, I think, over the last couple of years, how (the water system) has changed and diversified,” he said.

Wiggins gets most of its water from three wells that pull from the Kiowa Bijou basin, and two more recently dug wells that pull from the South Platte River.

The town also owns permits for two more Kiowa Bijou wells that have not yet been drilled. These wells are augmented by a 112-acre recharge pond facility north of town, shares in Weldon Valley ditch water and a recently approved lease agreement with the city of Castle Rock for augmentation water over the next three years.

The town also has two more recharge ponds and a few more Weldon Valley shares pending court approval.

Larino also pointed out that, thanks to an improved cleaning and filtration system, Wiggins’ water is well below the state limit for nitrates and other chemical content.

The water’s quality, particularly its nitrates level, has been a problem for the town in the past, but Larino said those days are over.

In 2015, the town pumped about 182 acre feet of water out of the 256 available acre feet. Thanks to the new water agreements, Larino said they will be able to pump up to 737 acre feet in 2016 and for the next two years.

“We have a lot of water,” he said. “Three times the town, basically.”

New tap fees approved by Wiggins trustees


From The Fort Morgan times (Stephanie Alderton):

The Wiggins board of trustees passed a resolution [November 11, 2015] clarifying how much town residents will have to pay to install new water taps.

This resolution is the latest in a series of efforts by the town council to conform to the Colorado Health Department’s new water regulations. Although Wiggins already had laws listing the required water tap fees, or “water plant investment fees,” for small home installations, the council decided the laws weren’t clear enough for larger, commercial installations. The new resolution aims to fix that problem.

Resolution 48-2015 lists the amount anyone applying for a water tap will have to pay the town, based on the tap’s size. It also states that all applicants will have to install the tap at their own expense, and that all water services must be metered and approved by the town manager. This is in accordance with Regulation 11 in the Colorado Health Department’s 2015 Water Quality Control Commission regulations.

For new builders, the fees will range from $11,500—for a small, household tap—to $225,000 for the largest tap. Town administrator Paul Larino said these fees are “competitive” compared to those of neighboring towns. He also said this won’t be the last water-related resolution the council will have to consider. The new Health Department regulations are hundreds of pages long, and the Wiggins trustees are still in the process of reading through them.

Wiggins trustees approve hitching up with the Northeast Colorado Water Cooperative…augmentation credits

Augmentation pond photo via Irrigation Doctor, Inc.
Augmentation pond photo via Irrigation Doctor, Inc.

From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The Wiggins Board of Trustees voted to buy a share of the Northeast Colorado Water Cooperative during its monthly meeting Wednesday night. That will cost $2,000.

On any one day, an individual or group with an augmentation plan might have more water credits than the person or group can use or less than it needs, and having the option of sharing credits could help those who are part of the cooperative, said agricultural producer Mike Groves. As it is, if a person or group has excess water credits, the individual or group has to just let it go down the river without use, but the cooperative may change that, he noted.

“It’s something that’s never been done before, but I get sick and tired” of seeing water lost because it cannot be used, Groves said.

Members could transfer water credits to help out those who need them, he said.

Even a little bit of water can make a difference at times, Groves said.

The copperative became official as of Jan. 1, after about seven years of work to put it together, he said. So far, a number of people and groups have become members, said Joe Frank, general manager of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District. There are two kinds of members: voting and non-voting, which cost $2,000 or $1,000 respectively for shares. That money becomes capital, and would buy one share of cooperative stock, just like other agricultural cooperatives, Frank said.

More South Platte River Basin coverage here and here.

Wiggins: Raw water system improvements overcome nitrate problems

Drilling a water well
Drilling a water well

From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

Interim Town Administrator Jon Richardson said he had taken samples of water from all over the town, and the water has much lower levels of nitrates. That means residues of nitrates from years of contaminated well water have washed away in the new water the town brought on line in mid-September, he said.

Also the hardness of the water is down, Richardson said during the Wiggins Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday. The town plans to send out a notice to residents, said Town Clerk Jessica Warden-Leon. Richardson said he wanted to encourage people to stop using water softeners, since they are not needed and the water treatment plant has to deal with them…

He noted that the sprinkler system built for the town park is hooked into the old wells, and so it does not take any of the new water. The same holds for the Wiggins School District’s football field.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.

Wiggins new water system still not online


From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

During a special meeting of the Wiggins Board of Trustees Wednesday, Public Works Director Jon Richardson said he talked with a representative of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about whether or not a proposal for putting the town’s pipeline through its flood levee was acceptable. He was told he would hear one way or another this week, but he had not heard yet, he told the board. He planned to call again at the end of the week.

Industrial Facilities Engineering — which is overseeing the water project — said it was still waiting on a company to figure out what it would cost Wiggins to adapt its new water treatment plant to blend water with its existing wells and its new water source, Richardson said. Blending is necessary, because the town does not have enough new water to fill its needs. Richardson said he expects to know how much it would cost next week.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.

Wiggins: New water treatment plant ready to go but the town still needs approvals for supply pipeline


From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did send a letter making comments on three proposals to take the pipeline through the town flood levee but wanted clarification on some details like elevations, sections and sketches, said Tim Holbrook of Industrial Facilities Engineering, the firm that is overseeing the Wiggins water project.

Wiggins is replacing its current water supply after the current water levels in town wells has fallen over the years, and because the water is under a health advisory from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.

During a weekly meeting of the Wiggins Board of Trustees, Holbrook said he will write up what the corps needs over the next few days and send it to Wiggins officials. After that, it will take a while to get a reply, but it is not certain how long.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.

Wiggins: New water treatment plant to undergo testing this week


From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The reverse osmosis filters will be installed Tuesday, and plant testing starts Wednesday, [Public Works Director Jon Richardson] said.

Unfortunately, town officials still do not know how they are supposed to complete a final section of water pipeline that would take the pipe through the town flood levee and allow water to start flowing.

Town Clerk Craig Trautwein said he spoke to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representative Tuesday, and he was expecting an e mail about which plan the corps would accept — if it accepts any of the proposed plans. The representative would not disclose the results until then, he said.

One piece of good news is that Industrial Facilities Engineering has agreed to eliminate some of the exclusions it had on a plan to blend the town’s existing well water with its new water until Wiggins has enough new water for all its needs.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.